As you may recall, I posted my English wish list a few months ago, chock full of some things we could add to our lovely language in order to make it even better than it is. It has also occurred to me, however, that we might improve our language just as well by taking some things as we might by putting some things in. And so, Gentle Reader, I will now present to you a small list of linguistic habits that we should boycott, if only for the greater good of our language.
- Rhyming "friend" with "end."
I believe that we've reached that statute of limitations on this one. It has been used so many times that it's been worn out. This makes no sense at all, since according to Rhymezone.com there are somewhere around fifty other words that rhyme either "friend" or "end." I don't care if "you're such a great friend and our friendship will never end" is a good sentiment or not; you don't always have to express the same feelings with the same exact vocabulary! Otherwise, we wouldn't have word like "portend," for one. And by the way, here's some advice just in case you happen to be an aspiring poet or lyricist: explaining something that has been explained the same way before in exactly the same way equals bad writing.
- "Putting a smile on his/her face."
Ugh. This phrase is so sappy that I feel all sticky inside whenever I hear or read it. And I mean sticky in the worst possible way. On the inside. Not only is it over-used, essentially meaningless, and the earmark of a pansy, but it makes less sense the more you think about it. After all, doesn't using "put" imply force? Physical force, even? Because when you put a tray of assorted cheeses on a table, you are physically forcing the cheese to be in that tray and on that table. And if somebody reached over to you, grabbed both sides of your mouth, and forced them into an upward position, wouldn't you be the opposite of happy? I don't know about you, but anytime someone tells me how to smile I get that tingly feeling that always accompanies a very strong urge to punch the offender's teeth out. I mean, how dare they try to tell me how to feel? But maybe I'm over-analyzing that one.
- "Prego," "preggers," "baby bump," and the like
Okay, I know that this might make me sound a little snobby, but I honestly believe that children have the right to be treated with respect, even before they are born. I also fear for anyone who uses these words to describe their own child(ren)-to-be, for I would think that s/he probably doesn't know that pregnancy results in babies and not American Girl dolls. It is also possible that the person in question does not know the difference between a new born and Samantha Parkington. I can only imagine that delivery day would only bring disappointment for all involved.
That's all for now; feel free to add more boycott items in the comments!
Regards, best wishes, and languistic sanity,